What can a trained physician, a clinical psychologist and a college lecturer possibly have in common? No, it's not their penchant for thick books or even their love of Sigmund Freud. For this batch of young professionals, it's a lifelong commitment to fighting crime instead.
At a time when most of their starry-eyed contemporaries are probably busy sprucing-up their curriculum vitas and haggling about corporate salary packages, these young men and women, from the Indian Police Service (IPS) batch of 2010, already have stars on their shoulders, not just in their eyes.
“How long can you remain enmeshed in books and their idea of the world? You need to step out to see, feel and practically experience it to get a clearer picture," says south Delhi's Shweta Chauhan. The M. Phil in English Literature gave up teaching for the coveted uniform.
“If one can use one's common sense to help the common man, why not?" asked Kerala’s Benita Mary Jankins, who was a psychologist with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) before a single attempt propelled her into the IPS.
"Since I come from a family of doctors, I wanted to try a different approach to helping people," said Dr. Eish Singhal, or 'Singham' as the Chandigarh boy is fondly referred to by his seniors. Singhal wants to push minors from slums into sports to keep them away from crime. “This is just my way of doing it,” he says.
Currently on probation in the Capital, the 10-week training module that their batch is now undergoing saw these 20-somethings go where not many of their age prefer to go — behind the desk of your friendly, local thana's Station House Officer (SHO), day in and out.
From assisting their staff on crime spots to analysing their area's crime trends and even attending court dates — the last 10 weeks, they claim, have turned some police stations into their second home.
“Now I understand the police's point of view," Chauhan admits. "I stand at pickets just to see how policing is done. I now know what we need to 'do' to fight crime and that it simply can't be wished away."
Jankins has realised how important the motley, and seemingly simplistic, beat constable actually is. “They're the backbone of our system. The lesser the gap between them and the citizens, the stronger we are as a society.”
They will now head back to the New Police Academy (NPA) in Hyderabad for a month's training before returning to Delhi for a month-long session as assistant commissioners of police.